No snow. No parties. No shopping lists. No long lines at the super market. Simply Christmas. I didn't miss the hustle and bustle. This was the simplest Christmas I have ever experienced. I (we) really missed our family, and I (we) was a little sad to think about all the Christmas we were missing. But God revealed himself to me in such a personal way this Christmas.
I have always known that Christmas is about Christ's birth. But the weight of that was lost on me. I was too worried about gifts, baking, etc....to think about what Jesus's birth meant to him, to the Father and to me.
At a small gathering Christmas eve night a poem was read. (I wish I had a copy of it for you.) The poem was a conversation between God the Father and Jesus on the eve of his birth. How Jesus would miss the intimacy he had with his father. How Jesus wondered if the world he created would know him? How Jesus understood and appreciated the Father's love for his people. I have never stopped to think about what that last heavenly conversation might have been like.
During a sermon in the weeks approaching Christmas Pastor Sandress (Capital City Baptist Church - Lilongwe) was teaching on the names given to the Messiah, Jesus and Immanuel. Jesus meaning the Lord saves, and Immanuel meaning God with us. The messiah had to be Immanuel to be Jesus. Jesus came to this earth. He walked on our dirty roads. He drank our unfiltered water. Jesus slept on the ground. I was particularly struck by these very simple facts. As a "missionary" working with the poor and oppressed, I am happy to go to their village, to walk their roads (as long as I have shoes), to share a meal with them. BUT, I bring my own filtered water, I wash my hands with hand sanitizer, I do my best not to use their bathrooms, and I go home every night to sleep in my bed which in not sitting in the dirty.
Jesus love is unconditional. Jesus love is complete. Jesus love isn't put off by dirt. Jesus love in sacrificial.
I have so much to learn.
I am so thankful that Jesus came to be Immanuel. I am so thankful that Immanuel came to be Jesus.